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Wednesday , April 21 2021

Activists criticize residency renewal ban on expats above 60

KUWAIT CITY, Nov 22: A number of activists expressed their criticism mixed with hope about the ban, which is due to come into effect early next year, on the issuance of work permits for those 60 years of age and above, and those holding a high school certificate or less, reports Al-Rai daily.

They warned that this ban will completely transform the country into a bachelor state, as such a measure will reduce the number of families living in the country.

The activists explained that many Kuwaiti business owners will be negatively affected by the consequences of such a decision because they depend on this segment for their work as such people have experience and knowledge that are more important than university degrees. Many of them have resided in Kuwait for decades, during which they accumulated experience and became capable of carrying out work and tasks for which it would be difficult to find alternatives, such as chef, trainer, electrician, mechanic, or professional expert.

Their criticism focused on the lack of consideration of the humanitarian aspects that will be negatively affected by the implementation of the decision, including the disintegration of the families of those people who were born in Kuwait.

The activists also highlighted the lack of a serious study on the labor market in Kuwait and its needs for this category of experienced workers.

They said the core objective of this decision can be achieved by implementing it on marginal workers or some other ways such as by increasing the fees for the residency permits of those above the age of 60, requiring them to have high-value health insurance in order not to overburden the health system, or dividing them into categories so that the market’s need for each category is studied and accordingly catered to.

In this context, Head of the the Kuwait Association of the Basic Evaluators for Human Rights(KABEHR) Dr. Yousef Al-Saqer said, “This decision was supposed to be applied on those who came to Kuwait for the first time and not on those who have been in Kuwait for decades, and were perhaps born in Kuwait.”

He indicated that some individuals from this segment to which the decision applies are company owners and do not have the required academic qualification, and this will cause big problems.

Dr. Al-Saqer said, “Sometimes a person has an academic qualification but does not have technical experience in the required field. So what is the benefit of a certificate in this case?

There are industrial and professional aspects that need to be considered and which are not related to the degree. The measurement and the standard should not be determined through the certificate, but from the extent of Kuwait’s need or lack for such a person.

People of this segment probably must have spent all of their lives building companies and economic entities, then such a decision comes to destroy these entities and destroy the bond of some families.”

He expressed his regret over such a decision because, “sometimes decisions are made without knowing the desired benefits from them.”

In this regard, Head of the Kuwait Society for Human Rights Khaled Al-Hamidhi said, “The decision to prevent the renewal of residency permits for those over 60 and with high school certificates and below, which comes into effect from January 1, 2021, needs to be reconsidered because it deprives the labor market of some of the competencies that have gained experience locally over many years. There are people from this segment who have built economic entities.  This decision will cause confusion in the labor market as well as social problems as a result of the family disintegration that it might cause.”

As for the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Integrity Society Mohammad Dha’ar Al-Otaibi, he confirmed that, “The decision needs to be reviewed. So far there is no decision, but rather just instructions that may be petitioned administratively in the event that they are implemented on the ground.”

He highlighted that, “Any decision issued must have goals and objectives.”

It is worth mentioning that some of the solutions given as alternatives to the ban included –
1. Imposing high fees on this target segment,
2. Imposing higher treatment fees,
3. Granting this category yearly residence permits with the possibility of renewing them,
4. Granting national employers a certain number of exceptions and dividing this segment into categories so that each of them is dealt with according to the market’s need and social status.

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